PROPOSALS to improve road safety at an accident hotspot have been welcomed by a councillor who has been campaigning for change before a ‘fatality’ occurs.

A safety review of the junction of Duke Street and Larchfield Street in Darlington has resulted in a number of recommendations aiming to reduce the risk of collisions on the busy roads.

Councillor Cyndi Hughes launched a campaign to get Darlington Borough Council to carry out a safety audit following a number of crashes including one where a woman had to be cut free from her car following an accident on the crossroads.

The review identified a number of issues that could be reduce the risk of accidents including the introduction of “no loading at any time” restrictions on the north side of Duke Street at the junction of Larchfield Street and refresh the road markings at the junction and provide yellow backing boards for the “give way” signage on both Larchfield Street approaches.

Cllr Hughes said: “I am hopeful that some of the suggested changes to make the junction safer will be put in place before QE students arrive for the autumn 2019 term. Traffic experts have put the high number of collisions down to driver error and reduced visibility due to vehicles loading and unloading near to the junction. Those issues must be addressed with some urgency.

“I worry that young people who make their way to town via that route on foot are a being put at an unacceptable risk of injury and I very much hope that positive action will be taken to make the junction safer as soon as possible. Officers know what it will take, now they should get on and do it.

“Discussions that I have had with local residents and businesses assure me that they share my concern for young and old alike who cross that intersection on foot and in vehicles. Many believe that if something isn’t done, a fatality will occur.”

Councillor Paul Howell, Darlington Borough Council's Cabinet member for leisure and local environment, said: "This junction has been the subject of accidents over a period of time and various safety features have been introduced, including speed reducing measures, lit warning signs and give way markings.

"A minority of drivers have failed to negotiate the junction safely so we will continually review opportunities to reduce the risk to pedestrians. If Councillor Hughes has any suggestions I would be happy to meet to discuss them. In the meantime, drivers and pedestrians are advised to exercise due care and attention in the area."